Now lets take a closer look at the importance of water in our own bodies. As babies we are approximately 75 to 80% water and as we grow older this percentage decreases until the percentage is reduced to approximately 60 to 65% for men and 50 to 60% for women. The human brain is about 85% water and our bones are between 10 to 15% water. The chemical structure of water H2O and both the hydrogen and oxygen have great importance as life giving properties and a preserving force to our systems. Women have a higher percentage of adipose tissue than men, giving them a lower percentage of water.
The ability of water to disassemble and rearrange other molecules is essential to the chemistry of life. It does this by forming weak bonds with the other molecules. This is often why we refer to water as the universal solvent. Water is a perfect conductor of electricity and this becomes important in the day to day operation of our bodies. For example, the electrical potential is shared between the brain neurons through electrochemical transmitters. This electrical potential of brain chemistry must be present for any of our "thoughts" to take place.
Water is without a doubt one of the very best diet aids and fat reducers: look at what it does . . . Suppresses your appetite. Reduces sodium buildup and helps maintain muscle tone. It helps the body eliminate waste and toxins. Relieves fluid retention. If you dont give your body water, it holds onto water tenaciously so it wont run out. Reduces fat deposits in the body by helping the body metabolize the fat that is stored in the body, however when your kidneys dont get enough water, this causes the liver to become overloaded. Since the liver is the organ that metabolizes the fat, it cant do that if its doing the kidneys job.
The real truth is that water is one of the best cures for our most common ailments. The flip side of this is that there is very little money in selling water and for the most part it is free. Doctors almost never write a prescription for water and yet look what all it can treat: allergies, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, alcohol dependency, lower back pain, neck pain, and on and on. Now dont be fooled by considering the coffee, tea or soda pop that you drink as part of your water intake, because if these products are caffeinated (and most of them are) it has just the opposite effect on our bodies. Caffeine acts as a diuretic to our system and actually results in water reduction to our bodies. The same applies to drinks with alcohol. If your drinking these items make sure you dont count them as part of your eight glasses of water per day.
Now is it just coincidental that disease and/or health problems dramatically increase as we get older. I dont think so. It has not been well documented but from my own experience, of dealing with older mature people there is a common generalized reduction in the amount of water in their intake, which reduces their body water percentage. Some of the symptons that older people get lead them to reduce their water intake. Loss of water in all tissues continues and is probably involved in many of the physical alterations associated with aging.
Does it make a difference what kind of water I drink? It is truly disappointing how much hype and false information is in the marketplace today. Remember that water is the most "perfect" element that has been provided for us on this earth. I personally do not believe it was by accident. To try changing the chemical structure of water is almost sacrilegious. Im sure you have all read the hype on distilled or de-ionized water being much better for you and even many of the bottled "spring waters" are proving to be extremely deficient in mineral content. It has been established that the magnesium deficiency in our waters contribute to millions of deaths each year, causing everyone to examine the myths of "PURE" water.
Most of you are aware that If you put either of distilled or de-ionized waters into a bowl for gold fish they will die . you see there is no longer any oxygen in the water. Now I dont know about you, but I dont like drinking something that kills anything. I know the rebuttal of these manufacturers is that if you want to put it into the goldfish bowl all you have to do is hook up an oxygenation machine to the water. Have you ever seen people that are drinking these waters carrying an oxygen generator? Even if they are, they still are only doing one half of the job to make it as beneficial to our bodies. You must understand that our bodies need the minerals that are in water. Another myth has been that our bodies readily adsorb colloidal minerals, which is simply not true. Our bodies can only adsorb minerals which are water soluble.
I would like to make another point. I am not a strong proponent of chlorine as a disinfectant. It does an excellent job of disinfecting, but if dosed too heavily can cause other problems in our bodies. If any of you have a small Ozone Machine its an excellent way to solve this problem. It is strange that the rest of the world seems to be changing to Ozination and the U.S. is lagging behind.
Let me share some of my thoughts on these wonderful things that our bodies are capable of doing. I spent over half of my life thinking that I had taste buds in my mouth that were put there solely for purpose to let me know how delicious my steak tasted or how great a certain dessert was and as usual with knowledge comes reality. The ability of my taste buds to let me know how good or how bad something tasted had nothing to do with my likes or dislikes but everything to do with the inner-workings of my body.
You see the taste buds register almost instantaneously, a complete profile of what we put in our mouths. This is sent to our hypothalamus where it is immediately sent off to the right part of the most sophisticated computer that we all own, called our brain. Here a whole program is immediately started without our knowledge or any conscious effort on our part. Your body and the foods you eat are made up of atoms and molecules. The bodies job is to transform these atoms and the molecules in our food into the kind of atoms and molecules that are found in our bodies. This transformation occurs inside the cells in our bodies.
Cells are the basic structural unit of any living thing. Every cell is like a "building block" or a little miniature factory which can process the food we eat into energy for growth and performance of its own particular "body regulating" function. The body is a highly organized system that has a multitude of many different cells with each one specific to a certain function. Cells are organized into "tissues" such as muscle tissues, skin tissues, fat tissues, bone tissues, nerve tissues; in turn these tissues are organized into "organs" such as the digestive organs. This group would include the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine, the pancreas and the gall bladder. The liver along with other organs such as the heart, our brains, our lungs and our reproductive organs are all critical to our bodys functions.
Organs may contain just one type of tissue, or they may be functionally organized groups of several tissue types. These organs when put together with their related functions are the systems we know as the skeletal, respiratory, reproductive, nervous, circulatory and digestive systems. The integrated product of all of these functioning organs is the organism.
The organism and all of its component parts are made up of atoms and molecules of chemical elements. If we examine these elements and their distribution in our bodies we see the following percentages by body weight:
The digestion of food is the combination of the mechanical and chemical process by which food is absorbed into our bodies. It is obvious to all of us that chunks of meat, potatoes and vegetables dont just float around in our bodies after we eat a meal. Foods cannot be used until they are digested and converted into simple substances that can pass through the cells of the small intestine and then into the blood or lymph.
The process begins in the mouth as the food is chewed and mixed with saliva, which matches the first of many enzymes that starts the chemical breakdown. Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyze the chemical reactions by lowering the energy level required to drive these reactions. Each of the many chemical reactions in the body require a different, specialized enzyme. All enzymes can be reused but some need to be replaced more quickly than others. An enzyme can change compound X into compounds Y and Z without being changed itself.
Digestion is only the beginning of the series of biological events that takes place as food is incorporated into the human body. Eventually, the nutrients materials in some form will reach every cell. Nutrients begin their travels by entering the bloodstream, or circulation as water, which will carry them to where they are needed.
It is interesting to understand that their are over 70 trillion cells in our body and each of these cells have an important part to play in our well being. Water passes through our cells on a regular basis and usually passes into over a 100 cells before everything from the water soluble minerals or enzymes have been captured by these cells. Remember the cell has no way of passing anything through it that is not water soluble. Try dissolving some of your vitamins or minerals in water to see how soluble they are.
Water serves as a lubricant in digestion and almost all other body processes. The water in saliva facilitates chewing and swallowing, ensuring that foods will slide easily down the esophagus. Water in other digestive fluids sustains movement throughout the gastrointestinal system. The watery fluid surrounding such body parts as joints and eyeballs helps them move smoothly and is in fact their only lubricant.
The solvent properties of water discussed earlier underlie some of its other functions and are nutritionally important in several ways. Enzymes, hormones and coenzymes are all dissolved in watery body fluids and act on metabolites (amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) that are similarly dissolved. Water also serves as a solvent for waste products such as urea, carbon dioxide and various electrolytes that the body excretes. As a solvent containing these substances, water is necessary for transport to and from all cells of the body.
Water is an active participant in Hydrolysis, which is a major chemical process of the body. During this process water molecules separate into hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) groups, each of which reacts with other substances. Sucrose, for example, is hydrolyzed into fructose and glucose forms, which can be utilized by body cells. In addition, water serves as a reactant in intracellular reactions and plays an important role in the maintenance of our electrolyte balance.
Approximately 60% of the bodies total water content is contained inside the cells and makes up the intracellular compartment. The balance of the extracellular compartment has two major divisions. The intravascular fluid represents 20% of the extracellular fluid in the body and is the liquid component of the blood and is present in the heart, our arteries, veins and capillaries. The interstitial and transcellular fluid account for 80% of the extracellular fluid in the body. These fluids include the fluids that bathe all the cells, spinal fluids, ocular fluid for lubricating the eyes, the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, various secretions such as (saliva, bile, gastric juice, mucus) and lymph.
This is just a short discussion of how water works in our bodies. Naturally, it is a very complex subject. I hope I have given you a better idea of how our bodies work and how important water is to maintaining a healthy state.
Considering these factors, we need to emphasize the importance of consuming appropriate amounts of water, that is in a form that is usable by the body. We hope you will read on, and consider the information provided in the personal care and nutrition section of our site.
Patricia A. Kreutler, Dorice M. Czajka-Narins Nutrition in Perspective Appendix 554-556
Patricia A. Kreutler, Dorice M. Czajka-Narins Nutrition in Perspective 309-312